Since the start of the 2016/17 Indian Super League (ISL), only Indian goalkeepers have won the Golden Glove award. This is an encouraging statistic, especially given the fact that the quality of Indian goalkeepers over the years has seen a marked improvement.
The 2020/21 season of the ISL has seen all eleven clubs opt for Indian goalkeepers only. The fact that 26 clean sheets have been kept so far speaks volumes of how far Indian goalkeepers have come. While clean sheets can be attributed to good defensive play, there have been a few custodians who have managed to make world-class saves.
Let's take a look at three goalkeepers who have impressed one and all this season.
#3 Albino Gomes (Kerala Blasters)
It has been a tough 2020/21 season for Kerala Blasters so far with just one win in seven matches. However, there have been a few players who have put in top-draw performances. One such player is goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
In any other team, Gomes would have ideally been the second or third-choice goalkeeper. But, with the inexperienced Prabhsukhan Singh Gill being the only other option, Kibu Vicuna had to make Albino Gomes the first-choice custodian.
In the initial few games, Albino made a few mistakes, including a howler against FC Goa that saw Igor Angulo get the better of him. However, things only got better for the Goan native from there. The game against Chennaiyin FC saw the best of the 26-year-old as he saved a penalty. He also made several key saves that not only helped Kerala Blasters secure a point, but also earned him the Man of the Match award.
He also saved a Sunil Chhetri penalty in the 4-2 loss against Bengaluru FC, thus making it two penalty saves this season so far.
#2 Gurmeet Singh (NorthEast United FC)
At the start of the season, it was anticipated that Subhashish Roy Chowdhury would be the first-choice goalkeeper for NorthEast United FC. Youngster Gurmeet Singh was expected to come in for the odd game.
However, Gerard Nus' novel managerial approach has seen both keepers make three appearances each, with Gurmeet getting more opportunities. While a lot of credit for the team's success would be given to Khassa Camara, Dylan Fox, and Benjamin Lambot, Gurmeet Singh's performances have generally gone unnoticed.
The game against Bengaluru FC witnessed the youngster at his best where he made several key saves to keep Sunil Chhetri and Cleiton Silva at bay. In that match, Gurmeet Singh cemented his place as the first-choice goalkeeper for NorthEast United FC in ISL 2020-21.
#1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
An ISL goalkeeping list without featuring the name of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is unthinkable. The 28-year-old is the only player in the history of the ISL to have won 2 Golden Glove awards. The 2019/20 season saw Gurpreet create yet another record after becoming the only goalkeeper to have kept more than 10 clean sheets in a season.
The current season, however, has not really brought out the best in Gurpreet, but he has managed to make a few fantastic saves. In addition to this, he has also managed to keep two clean sheets so far.
With a good presence in between the sticks, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is one of the most important pieces of the Bengaluru FC jigsaw. Needless to say, he will play a pivotal role in helping the Blues as they pursue their second ISL title.Published 30 Dec 2020, 19:17 IST